Category Archives: commercial skylights

How to Choose the Right Commercial Skylight Contractor

How to Choose the Right Commercial Skylight Contractor-commercial skylight-Mares Dow

 

Once you’ve decided to invest in commercial skylights for your business or property, it’s important to find the right contractor for the job. Just as you would research and vet for other structurally significant projects like retaining wall contractors, a skilled commercial skylight installer is key for the integrity of the finished product. When it comes to selecting your contractor, you can approach the process as you would for other positions in your business: research your options, conduct interviews, and choose the candidate who offers the best value. 

Research your options

One of the first steps in your research process is to define your objectives. This will help you to determine which commercial skylight contractors are viable options for your project needs. When outlining your objectives, consider your timeline, budget, and any unique project specifications, such as particular skylight brands you would like to use or known challenges for installation. Once you have put these items together, cast your net for local contractors. It can be helpful to ask other trusted contractors or vendors in your network who they recommend to start building your list. Some skylight brands such as Velux also provide a directory of vetted skylight specialists who provide installation and contracting services locally. 

Interview for the job

Now that you have a list of potential contractors, you can begin the interview process. As you discuss your project with them, be sure to communicate your budget, timeline, and skylight preferences and do a walk-through of your property. The site visit is helpful for the contractor to get a clear idea of what the installation process will entail and how it will impact your operations, and it is helpful for you as the contractor may be able to provide new insights and ideas for the project. An experienced contractor will be able to tell you what to expect from the installation process and offer references from previous customers. It is a good idea to follow up on these references, either by reaching out by phone or visiting the property to see the skylights for yourself. Testimonials from happy clients can tell you a lot about both the quality of the contractor’s work and their level of professionalism throughout the project. 

Find the best value

From the contractors you interviewed, select two or three and request bids for the project. While the tendency may be to go with the lowest bid, the quoted price is not the best primary metric for evaluation. A low bid can be a red flag for cutting corners with the quality of the materials or with job-site safety, or for tacking on expenses once the project has started. Look for the proposal that best aligns with your project needs and displays an attention to detail in the breakdown of the cost of materials, labor, the contractor’s take home, and other expenses. 

 

Mares & Dow Construction has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our skylight contractors can help you with your next project. Contact us today to get started!

Why commercial skylights can benefit your office

Commercial Skylights - Mares Dow

 

Many of us spend a large percentage of our day at our places of work. For this reason, many employers strive for their offices to be comfortable and conducive to productivity, all while keeping an eye on the business’s bottom line. Commercial skylights can help in this balancing act, bringing several benefits that positively impact the whole office. 

 

Saves on utility costs

Commercial skylights are a very efficient way to reduce the money your office spends on utility bills. For many businesses, the amount they pay for lighting and HVAC usage can seem like an immovable number – but it doesn’t have to be that way. With commercial skylights, businesses can benefit from natural light and outdoor air circulation, and the reduced energy usage and costs that come with leveraging these free natural resources. Modern skylights are designed to capture and diffuse maximum daylight, even during the low light hours of the day when the sun isn’t overhead. Additionally, there are venting skylight models that can exchange trapped indoor heat with cooler outdoor air, reducing reliance on air conditioning systems to create comfortable indoor temperatures. 

 

Promotes employee wellbeing

Natural light is a well-known contributor to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of every individual. It is our primary source of Vitamin D and the main regulator of our internal clock, as well as a trigger for the brain’s release of serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone that helps a person feel calm and focused. Studies show that those who benefit from natural light at work sleep better at night and experience less absenteeism. This, in turn, benefits their employers who report greater productivity and creativity within their teams. With all these advantages of exposure to natural light during the workday, commercial skylights are a logical choice for healthier and happier employees. 

 

Provides a simple solution

You don’t have to purchase and install a complicated building energy management system to achieve the benefit of energy savings, and you don’t have to redesign your workplace with floor-to-ceiling windows on every exterior wall to achieve the health benefits of natural light. Commercial skylights are a simple solution that can help you realize all these benefits without breaking your budget in the process. Furthermore, there are multiple types of skylight solutions that can be designed to fit your unique business needs. Whether you are looking for standard domed skylights, commercial Sun Tunnels for your dropped ceilings, or modular skylights tailored to your building, there is a commercial skylight solution that can achieve your goals, simply and efficiently. 

9 Key Skylight Terms To Know

When you work with commercial skylight contractors, you may be introduced to new vocabulary for skylights and skylight installation. As your project gets underway, here are a few key terms you will hear tossed around and are helpful to know as you find the right commercial skylights solution for your building. 

Curb

The curb of a skylight refers to the raised frame that is fixed to the deck of the roof and on which curb-mounted skylights are placed. Curbs of typically made of wood and built on site or made of metal and are pre-manufactured and delivered with the skylight.

Fixed skylight

This term refers to skylights that are non-operable, as in they do not open for venting purposes.

Flashing

Flashing is a weatherproofing system that imperviously integrates skylights into the surrounding roofing material. There are multiple types of flashing systems for skylights, such as self-flashing and step flashing, and they are meant to shed exterior water without relying on sealants, which can degrade over time.

Glazing

Glazing is the glass or acrylic portion of the skylight. Typically commercial skylights have multiple layers of glazing, which is referred to as insulated glazing, such as the Velux Acrylic Double Dome. The space between the glazing can also be filled with argon gas to enhance insulation further.

Laminated glass

Laminated glass is made from two panes of glass that are bonded together by a vinyl layer between them. The vinyl layer prevents the glass from breaking apart in dangerous shards when damaged.

Low-E coating

Low-E, or low emissivity, coating refers to a metallic layer that is chemically bonded to skylight glass and works to prevent heat gain and minimize UV rays that can fade interior surfaces. Sometimes notated as LoE, LoE2, or LoE3 which indicates single, double, and triple layers of coating, respectively. 

Tempered glass

A type of glass that is hardened to shatter into small pieces when broken.

Venting skylight

As opposed to fixed skylights, venting skylights are operable. They can be opened manually with a long arm crank or can be remotely operated. Additionally, some venting skylights are outfitted with moisture sensors that automatically close the skylight in the event of precipitation. 

Wrapping

Wrapping a skylight is the process of using roofing underlayment or felt to wrap the skylight curb or frame. Wrapping skylights reduce the risk of condensation forming on the interior skylight surfaces and is additional protection from exterior water penetration in extreme weather scenarios.

 

Mares & Dow Construction has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our general contractors are home remodeling experts and enjoy working with homeowners as they start the process with their next project.  Contact us today to get started on your home remodel!

3 Common Myths about Commercial Skylights

Most building occupants can agree, skylights can transform commercial buildings and suffuse interior spaces with all the benefits of warm, natural illumination. Despite the many benefits of commercial skylights, misperceptions about their durability and performance persist. Some myths founded initially in the realities of early iterations of skylights are quickly debunked by modern commercial skylights that boast new technologies and materials. Here are three common myths about commercial skylights and how today’s skylights prove them wrong.

They are leaky

A common refrain about commercial skylights is that they either lack a proper seal to the surrounding roof or curb or that the seal quickly deteriorates to allow water to leak into the interior of buildings. In the first place, often these “leaky” skylights were dripping condensation that had formed on the inside surface of the skylight due to the moist interior air reacting with surfaces subject to external temperatures. However, modern commercial skylights have been designed to confront this problem and utilize insulated glass, multiple domes isolating interior domes from external-facing domes, and encapsulating frames that can include condensation wicking systems and create a reliable barrier keeping outside precipitation from coming in. Additionally, frame varieties made from long-lasting material such as silicone that has a life-cycle of fifty years.

They are energy inefficient

Many building owners will opt out of commercial skylights due to the belief that they would exacerbate already sizeable HVAC utility costs. Certainly, some older skylights were subject to undesirable heat transfer, but the advancements in skylight technology have worked to mitigate this issue. Skylights have several glazing options that can manage heat transfer, while Low-E coatings help to reflect heat to its source, keeping buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Simple structural innovations also increase the energy efficiency of skylights: venting skylights can let fresh air in and regulate internal temperatures in the same fashion as windows, and remote-operated blinds with reflective exterior-facing surfaces can also be used to minimize heat transfer.

They are easily damaged

After investing in the capital expense of commercial skylight installation, the last thing a building owner wants to have to do is replace or repair them due to damage. For buildings in areas prone to extreme weather such as hail and high winds, skylights can seem like an unnecessary risk. For this reason, modern skylights use materials engineered to withstand these types of forces. For example, the Velux Dynamic Dome skylight utilizes a geometric design and thermoplastic materials that have been factory tested to hold up to two-inch hail propelled at 88 miles per hour without scratching its surface.

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